Hello, gentle viewers. Remember the 90’s? Back when TV for kids was intelligent and engaging and not just “look at how random we can be!” Are You Afraid of the Dark never talked down to kids and never made them inferior. More often than not, the kids were smart, resourceful, and quick enough to resolve the issue without ever having to get an adult or give up. Pretty inspiring stuff. Plus it was scary as hell!
I’ll never forget as a kid watching Snick every Saturday night on Nickelodeon and as soon as the end credits of Ren and Stimpy rolled, I knew I had to go run and get my Mom so she would watch AYAOTD with me- I refused to watch it alone, but it was my favorite. I loved being scared and I still do.
Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this the story of my 10 favorite Are You Afraid of the Dark episodes…
“The Tale of the Midnight Madness” Original US Air Date: March 24, 1993
My all-time favorite episode, this one appealed to the cinema lover in me from an early age. I love that it all takes place in one location, I love that they actually go into the film at the end, I love that it takes place in a movie theater. And Dr. Vink!
For years this version of Count Orlok haunted me. Whenever I was alone or particularly scared, my mind would always go to the image of his thin white hand creeping around the corner.
“The Tale of Laughing in the Dark” Original US Air Date: September 4, 1992
It’s the most fun in the park! This episode appeals to the clown hatred in us all. Seriously, who likes clowns? Has a clown EVER made you laugh? No, of course not. I love the funhouse/haunted house setting and I can still recall the creepy music even now. it’s basically “It” for kids.
“The Tale of the Super Specs” Original US Air Date: October 1, 1992
I remember watching this episode and spending the night at my Grandma’s house and whenever I closed my eyes to go to sleep I would think the people wearing all black were standing over me so I had to call my mom to come pick me up. This is up there as one of the scariest episodes in the entire series for me.
“The Tale of the Dark Music” Original US Air Date: November 6, 1992
This episode is one I actually didn’t discover until recently, somehow I missed it when it originally aired but I love that the kid in this is slowly corrupted by whatever entity is behind that door in the basement or that music is what stirs the darkness.
“The Tale of the Thirteenth Floor” Original US Air Date: April 7, 1993
I always come back to this episode because of the pure bizarreness of it; the weird tests the kids are put through and the absolutely terrifying alien designs.
“The Tale of the Dangerous Soup” Original US Air Date: March 30, 1994
Here’s another one that I love because it deals with fear and what really scares us. Dr. Vink is in pure sadistic splendor as he harvests peoples’ fears to use as the secret ingredient at his top-selling soup. THE SECRET INGREDIENT IS FEAR AND PEOPLE LOVE TO CONSUME IT! The subtext, man, the subtext.
“The Tale of Station 109.1″ Original US Air Date: June 24, 1995
This one I think ended up being a bigger influence on me that I had thought. A radio station that only the dead can hear? Holy crap that was awesome! And the bracelets you couldn’t remove, sealing your fate- taking control of your life away- that was an idea that scared my buns right off! Now I have no buns :/
“The Tale of the Dead Man’s Float” Original US Air Date: June 3, 1995
I don’t know why anyone would have a raft in an indoor pool at a school, but this episode had some of the most disturbing imagery in the entire series. That decaying red monster coming out of the water was unreal.
“The Tale of the Ghastly Grinner” Original US Air Date: December 1, 1994
This is one that I think is at the top of many AYAOTD lists for its downright disturbing imagery. I loved the weird science behind how they brought the Ghastly Grinner into “our” world. It was so creative and simple at the same time.
“The Tale of the Dollmaker” Original US Air Date: February 6, 1994
Nickelodeon always seemed to be playing this one and the image of that doll-girl standing at the end of the hall has stuck in my mind. I can’t even effectively put into words why this episode freaked me out so much but it did.
The Tale of the Hatching
The Tale of the Quicksilver
The Tale of the Unexpected Visitor